Saturday, July 30, 2016

Reading the Obituaries (update)

In this recent post:  I mentioned an obituary I had read recently about a husband and wife aviator team who lived an adventurous life and whose lives touched me when I read their obituary.

Apparently I wasn't the only one, as I just read this column in the Los Angeles Daily News about the same couple written at the husband's passing:

In  the article it mentioned that a local warbird group of T-6 Texan aircraft owners who fly under the name of the Condor squadron performed a fly over during the gentleman's funeral.  I heard them fly low over our house in formation this morning as they overflew the cemetery where the funeral was held.

Once again and for the last time I was touched by the memory of a couple that I never new but wished I had.  We would have had so much to talk about.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Pennies from heaven

When the Missus and I do our walks we invariably find a penny or two lying in our path.  We're not so well off that we don't stop to pick them up when we see them.  The type and denomination of the change that we find on our walk has been our informal gauge of how well the local economy is doing:  when we find a penny we know that folks are doing a bit better than getting by and feel that picking up a dropped penny is too much trouble. 

 When we start finding nickles, dimes, and quarters we know folks have more money that sense and feel that dropped change is too much effort to retrieve.   We used to find those denominations fairly regularly up to the crash of '08.  After that for a long time we were lucky to find a loose penny.

Recently I was walking to the train station from work one hot afternoon when I spied a penny on the sidewalk so I stooped down to pick it up.  Then I noticed another..and another...and another until I had picked up 88 of them.  They were scattered on the sidewalk and the driveway of a fast food place.  I saw there were more but I had to make it to the train to get home.

The next morning I stopped at the same place and picked up another 10.  98 pennies for the taking!  

I wonder how they got there.  did some small child lose them on the way to the eatery?  Did some slob empty his ash tray out the window only to dump all of his pennies too?

Into the penny bank they go!

Reading the obituaries

I remember my parents reading the obituaries in the paper when I was a kid.  They said it was to keep track of their friends to see if any had died without telling them.

I don't know why, but over the last several years I started looking at them too.  First it was competitive...I'd look at the ages of the people who died who were born around my time and think 'at least I lasted longer than he did'.   Pretty strange I guess, but then I've never been accused of being normal.

More recently though I started scanning them to learn about the people themselves who died.  This cycle started when I was curious to see how many were veterans and what their service was (note to families:  get your loved one's service history straight; I've read some pretty strange accounts of what their deceased supposedly did in the military).

But now I stop and read about the people and their lives.  Many, like most of us, had regular lives but some, the lives that they lead were amazing.   I glanced at an obituary for a woman who passed away who among other accomplishments was a Playboy Playmate of the Month in the late 50s.  Imagine having that on your resume!  Another that I read today met his wife prior to WW2 as a civilian flight instructor.  What a story there: a girl learning to fly in 1940!  He trained his future wife to fly and when the war started he went to the Navy to be an aviator and she went to be a WASP.  They continued with their remarkable lives post WW2, living a life worthy of a movie.  But she has been gone for awhile and he is now four paragraphs in the local paper. They will fade from view and from memories like so many, many people over the millennia whose unique stories are gone forever.

I've begun to feel it is my duty to read the obituaries and to acknowledge their lives, ordinary and extraordinary, one last time.

Pretty strange I guess, but then I've never been accused of being normal.

Cruise night

For the second year the Missus and I volunteered for Glendale's cruise night car show.  Our job was to check show registrations, issue swag, and line up the cars to be escorted by the motor officers to their parking spots in the display area.

Of course the Missus charmed all of the men as they stopped for their swag bags!

We had a great time doing the work and then met some friends for dinner and walking the show.

Hope we can do it again next year!

My kind of vehicle!  An old model Bronco with vintage tear drop trailer being towed behind.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Now it can be told...

In a 'now it can be told' moment, let me share with the readers that I got good news last Thursday afternoon, the day before the Missus' birthday.

Back at the end of April my doctor told me that I needed to get a prostate biopsy to check for cancer.  Certain indications led him to be concerned and he felt this procedure was needed.

Being the busy guy that he is, his earliest available time was near the end of June.  So that gave me a couple months to think about the implications of all of this.

The Missus, being the upbeat person that she is, stated that there was nothing to be found because I was fine.  I certainly hoped so but I did think about it.

 I broke the whole thing down into tasks to be accomplished:  biopsy prep the week before (check); do the procedure (check);  wait 10 days for the results to be ready (check); leave work early on the 10th day (check); go home, get the Missus and go to the doc's office (check); wait to speak with him....this way I wasn't brooding and worrying because I had tasks to accomplish in sequence.

It is not a surprise to anyone that anything involving modern medicine is devoid of dignity, especially a procedure such as this.  I had to leave my dignity at the door and just go with it.

It was very painful, embarrassing, and the doc's ultrasound machine broke down but he persevered because neither of us wanted to do this thing all over again.  When it was done I felt like crap and stayed that way for a couple of days but eventually got myself together.

So, on day 10 the Missus and I went to his office to get the pretty much good news.  No cancer was detected but there were some 'irregularities' that would need to be followed up on every 6 months.

That was good enough for me!   I didn't think I had been worried about the news I might receive, but I guess I was.  A friend of mine recently died from prostate cancer.  He was a vital person who went from healthy to dead in about a year.

Once again the Missus was my rock in all of this.  She was kind and considerate to me the day of procedure.  The next day though she told me to get my butt in gear and stop pretending I was sick or something.  She would have made a great first sergeant in the Army!

Happy Birthday to the Missus!

For those not in the know, the Missus has hit a certain milestone in her life with her birthday this past Friday.

For those who don't see me on Facebook, this is the tribute that I wrote about her:

Happy birthday to the love of my life, Mary Kernan. A daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, an actress, an adventurer, a co-conspirator to ignore stupid rules, and an instigator of fun!
She has made me a better man even though I am still a work in progress. She accepts me in my hobbies and enthusiasms, my political statements and incredibly un-stylish manner of dress.
She is the bravest woman I have ever known (except when it comes to snakes) and the most loving. She is tough when she needs to be and a softy too. She says she doesn't like sentimentality but she secretly does. Her hands are frequently cold but her heart is always warm.
She is resourceful, super intelligent, can drive a stick shift and ride a horse, cut the grass and paint a room, expertly use a firearm, a bow and a fencing foil. She can take care of herself but lets me take care of her..and she is always stylishly dressed and looking her best.
so I will say again Happy Birthday to the person who I knew was special the moment I laid eyes on her.

She, Young Son and Young Daughter and I visited the Reagan museum on her birthday to view the traveling exhibit "The Splendors of the Vatican" and then to dinner at her favorite restaurant.

Thank you dear heart for being who you are and choosing me to be in your life.